Letters to the Editor
Sir-- The token transfer of "sovereignty" to the "Iraqis" subtly absolves the US of its responsibility as occupying power, while still keeping all real power of decision in its hands. It also serves as a public relations coup at home in the US, by giving the media a tool to desensitise the public, which over time will lead to the masses giving less significance to the Iraq "mess", now that the Iraqis are "in charge".
The US media is already discussing how Iraq should repay the US for its "liberation" with its oil revenue, while at the same time they are advocating the forgiveness of debt owed to France and Russia by Iraq -- a truly "fair and balanced" approach. The only thing I see changing in Iraq, is Iraqi security being killed on the streets in place of the US military, as the US military withdraws to its gated bases.
The elite in the US deliberately want to keep Iraq in a "mess", as long as the oil keeps flowing. It is easier to plunder and deny people their rights (via martial law and postponement of elections) in a "mess" situation. Iraqis are still wondering why their electricity hasn't been restored in a year and a half by the "super power", when the "dictator" restored it a lot faster back in 1991, repairing greater damage.
The US already has its strategic "Japan" in the Middle East area, i.e. Israel, so there is no incentive for it to make things better in Iraq. Those who believe things will get better in a "liberated" Iraq suffer from "media induced delusion syndrome" (MIDS), which alters a person's perception of reality based on widely communicated nonsense in an almost schizophrenic manner. History is clear: whenever the US has intervened militarily in the "Third World" post-WWII, misery and suffering has become the fate of the vast majority in the region.
Sir-- Much will be said and written about Saddam Hussein's trial in the coming months, and I would just like to record my own feelings on the issue.
I believe that seeing this tyrant facing a young Iraqi judge is one of the most uplifting and refreshing changes to have come out of the Middle East in many years.
Jane Araf, one of CNN's reporters, put it concisely when she reported that most Iraqis would rather have Mr Hussein face a long and tortuous death, than have the advantage of a trial. If he was released on any Baghdad street, this man would have been lynched, torn limb from limb within minutes by his own countrymen.
I believe, however, that we have the great opportunity of having this trial as a precedent to establish that the rule of law should apply equally over all, both the high and the humble, in the Middle East.
Sir-- In response to Ian Douglas's article 'Is it legal?' ( Al- Ahram Weekly, 8-14 July), it is no secret that the US backed Iraq in the 1980s because of Iran. Iran was viewed as a bigger threat at the time, and is still viewed as a threat.
The author is wrong when he tries to imply that the United States was a major military backer of Iraq. The true fact is that France, Germany and Russia were the main suppliers of arms to Iraq. All you have to do is look at Iraq's military assets which were overwhelmingly from those three countries. I doubt that your intelligent author could be so mistaken about the facts, unless it was his intent.
Also, the author talks about the US fleecing Iraq; the only fleecing that was done was by the United Nations in the oil- for-food programme in which France, Germany and Russian UN Officials were getting kickbacks to look the other way, as Saddam diverted oil proceeds and starved the Iraqi people. Iraq has never been a major supplier of oil to the United States.
I am sure that the majority of Iraqis who lived under Saddam's rule do not appreciate Arab sympathy for him.
Sir-- Bush Inc. invaded Iraq so they'd be positioned to bomb Pakistan when Musharraf's killed (c. 2005). After that, maybe Iran and North Korea. By then, the permanent war ("internal enemies, external enemies") will have demolished civil liberties here.
I've lived with and studied psychopaths for 40,000 hours; "the criminal mind always looks to commit bigger crimes". The strategy is perfect, if Klingonesque, and explains all their "miscalculations".
Wrong is wrong
Sir-- I am so glad the International Court has ruled against Israel's fence. This fence is in contempt of our wishes for both the Palestinian and Israeli people. It not only robs the Palestinians of their land, but also robs them of their ability to thrive as a people; I am grateful the court recognised the great obstacle and suffering this fence imposes on Palestinian people. Over 875,000 Palestinians are affected by this fence, spelling widespread hardships. The stories I saw of Israeli soldiers ripping up Palestinian land and grabbing their land and resources to accommodate the fence were shocking.
In order for a people and a community to grow and prosper, they must have freedom to trade and exchange common goods. Today, the restrictions placed upon the Palestinians in their towns and villages by the fence make this impossible. Many Palestinians complained that their communities are cut off from each other, they are unable to get back and forth to their land, jobs, school and health services. I also understand the unemployment rate has skyrocketed to over 60 per cent in Palestinian communities, and households (almost 80 per cent) are forced to live on two dollars a day. This is a gross violation of their human rights.
I believe Israel should not ask our government either "to block" the Arab people for bringing this decision before the Security Council for action. That would place America on the wrong side of this fence. This fence shames everyone I know throughout the free world and is no way to deal with our human problems. We need to negotiate our differences, not put up a 30 foot fence/wall and grab other peoples' land and resources in the process.
I have been a long time supporter of Israel, but wrong is wrong. I know my feelings reflect those of millions of people on this side of the Atlantic when I say Israel's fence is not only offensive, but it is a defenceless fence. I am grateful the International Court ruled against it.
Sir-- It is time to recognise that the International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, is precisely the right place to discuss something described as "illegal" by members of the United Nations.
Sir-- In order for Israel to fulfil its charge and become what is was meant to be, which is not what it is now, a complete turn around must be implemented. Rather than this senseless destruction of Palestinian infrastructure, Israel should do the best it can to repair this destruction; and rather than creating and believing ethnic cleansing will win, it must admit that the aggression against the previous residents (Palestinians) will never work.
That is because Israel's existence is based on some kind of biblical prophesy, which no one can claim is the reality. The reality is that in 1948, a colonial power handed a certain percentage of land -- which it did not own -- to another hypothetical nation.
The result is that Israel is nearing disappearance, and there is no power which can change the outcome because Israel went astray from the meaning and reason for its existence -- creating a religious and worshiping land with emphasis on its history and biblical realm. Instead, it has become "Holiday Land" or rather some kind of New York in the Middle East, whose only reason for existence is a firewall that protects oil supplies to the West, and a copy of the American life styles.
If Israel wishes to exist, it must acknowledge its mistakes, redeem itself, integrate with the Palestinians, forget about this New York-style nation, become a real Middle Eastern nation, and bring forward the good things about its religion. Israel is so far away from reality, that it is in many ways destroying itself, following the example of the American nation.
Sir-- 'Searching for meaning' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 13-19 May) was the best article I've read on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in some time.
It was refreshing to read after having read so many other articles bemoaning the lack of common solutions or simply instigating hatred.
I look forward to reading more of this sort in upcoming issues.
Sir-- ''Democratic' racism (1)' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 8-14 July) is an interesting article. While the writer makes a few interesting observations, it would hardly seem to be the critical issue in the region.
Democracy by its very nature is imperfect -- it is an ever- evolving, self-correcting process. Too bad other countries in the region can't be so criticised.
What about Egypt?
Sir-- I can't help but notice the writer of ''Democratic' racism (1)' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 8-14 July) did not mention the complete absence of any rights in Egypt, or anywhere else in the Arab world.
Sir-- I would like to comment on the first sentence of the article 'Mind over matter' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 1-7 July) which states: "The news from investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that Jewish historian Raphael Patai's book The Arab Mind, a sex-obsessed cultural stereotyping of the Arabs, is considered a must-read by Washington neo-conservatives is not surprising."
If you feel it is necessary to mention that Raphael Patai (whom you criticise) is Jewish, why not also mention that Seymour Hersh (who surely deserves to be praised for the provided information) is Jewish as well?
Either not mention anyone's ethnicity, or mention everyone's.
St Louis, MI
Sir-- 'Mind over matter' ( Al-Ahram Weekly, 1-7 July) is a great article; great style of presenting facts without provoking an angry argument.
Sir-- I am totally puzzled by the way many educated Egyptians think and argue. The ability to see clearly is missing; the intention of adjusting to fairness is in short supply. For everything -- whether good or bad -- which took place in the region, the name of Israel is used as part of the cause and rewards.
America, who almost supplies the whole world with many essential and useful things, is always on the top of the hate list. Whatever attempts the West had come up with to solve a problem or get much closer to the Middle East, the Arabs doubted and mistrusted them.
The use of the definition "the Middle East" is quickly and unfairly assumed to be a conspiracy against the Arabs' identity. I can only ask the writer of 'Redefining Arabism' ( Al- Ahram Weekly, 8-14 July) to explain what the EU is a definition of. Is it for 25 great countries, or a conspiracy to get rid of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and the rest of the 25 nations?
My advice is, try being constructive; communicate with the world intelligibly to gain more respect and confidence; identity never disappears. The Egyptians, for instance, shall always be identified as Egyptians. If you try to defraud them of that, their history wouldn't allow you to succeed.